tv [untitled] April 14, 2012 3:30am-4:00am EDT
because inept field commander. you know, the bench of effective field commander is low. grant has political imperatives he has to respect. but that is a good subtle argument of too much credit. >> another reason that he quits his job, you mention lincoln. lincoln was -- just so thrilled to have a general that was at least aggressive. and, lincoln also -- was -- had more of the annihilation to be look you want to -- his generals to attack lee's army. not necessarily take richmond. which i know mcclellan was more about taking richmond. and lincoln needed somebody who would do something, whether he won or not. >> man not so much grant's doing as it is lincoln's. mr. connors. >> grant's biggest failings are tactical, not strategic. he is strategically very good. but tactically less so. in, for example, that again, wilderness in sharpsburg.wilder
flanks turned. that denotes bad tactical skills. >> cold harbor. >> cold harbor. battle of the angle. >> that's not grant. thinking sharpsburg. >> sharpsburg. >> same thing. mcclellan, '62. september. >> spotsylvania. >> the angle. yes. yes. you can certainly criticize. we'll walk back around. the way this all are open to question. although in grant's defense, is it grant's job to be doing tactical level stuff? >> no. it is supposed to be -- >> supposed to be his staff. there is arguably an organizational issue there as much as anything else. all right. grant, part of grant's trouble in the overland campaign, this is not clear in the readings you
have. grant has two very different and profoundly conflicting hats. he is in effect the field commander in a very awkward commander relaotitionship. he is fighting lee. and what is he supposed to do. wily talks a lot about it. he is coordinating all the federal armies. all right. this is as if general dempsey had to do his job as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff while being in afghanistan commander. right? why do we not do things that way? it's too much for one person. really too much for one person. all right, kind of absurd. but the american system is pure -- bureaucratically, has quirks in it. howlick should have played the role of keeping the big picture. howlick -- there are not that
many great military writers united nations precivil war period. howlick is the best that you have got. howlick is the only one in uniform. he doesn't do that. grantee ven seashe eventually t role. he is pulled in too many directions. i want to come back to the point. arguably there is some times a conflict between -- mcclellan is loved by his men. can you love your men too much? does that make you -- really? do people really buy that? or is that, or is this different types of -- well, let me let you discuss it. >> it is related to sports. if you are going to play shy and all that you are going to get hurt. if you are not aggressive taking the fight to them, you are going to hurt yourself worse. when an attack does come you are not going to be ready for it. building on grant, always pushing being aggressive looking for the right fight and all that. he was protecting his men.
mcclellan was, i don't want to go there and all that. so when a big fight did come. they weren't really ready for it. >> mcclellan does take a lot of casualties. that's an argument. awe also, like christina said, these men enlist to fight, fight for something they believe in or paid to do. so by not allowing them to fight and by trying to protect their lives, i thin tik the generals doing them a disservice. they didn't sign to just wear the uniform. in theory they signed up to fight and to one battles. >> anyone want to -- >> some of them were pressed in. >> yes by -- by -- by '63. then you have a lot of people who are -- i think i mentioned in the previous class, the draft works, not men are directly conscripted. states are given quo ttaquotas,
there is incentivized to pay bonus money. >> they were able to get out of it by getting some one else to go. >> yeah, yeah, substitute, yeah. they're not all complete plea volunteer buys this point in the war. >> didn't the draft come in after mcclellan was replaced. >> we are talking about grant. >> if he is arguing that he is doing a disservice to his men by keeping them in the camp. the draft does ant ply to mcclellan. >> fair enough. by not allowing them to fight or win battles, you could are gou that, who ever does this is prolonging the war, which in the long term is losing lives. >> there is kind of a, a conflict between short term and long term. and that's, and it's not adjudicating it correctly. right. that's -- that's okay. >> by putting your men in the
battle, you have trust in them they will come through and win. but shy away. the general doesn't want us to fight this one. if that happens over and over again. >> you guys are giving the very good institutional response. and it's perfectly defensible. let me push back a little bit. john bell hood. incredibly aggressive. men quite fond of him. what happens? he destroys his own army in effect. by attacking. i forget his name. good friend and colleague, civil war historian at unc-chapel hill. in the western army, sherman's army, he has, a story about, i can't remember which one, a corps commander who is -- who is very effective, very aggressive
but some what disliked by mismen. he is seen as a bit too aggressive. a bit too ambitious. so there is a fine line between -- yes, you know, troops want to, troops want to win. troops understand they have to, they have to do certain things to do that. but when do you have an officer -- who, who maybe wants that glory a little too much? you have to think of the dynamic between the generals, you have your political generals, who are there literally just to appease border states and people with their specific opinions and then you have the generals who are literally like militarily efficient. so, you have to look at the different background and how they got in those positions. lincoln appoints people as political generals. and they have no experience ever before. and they're leading green troops themselves. and then you have people who are very, very familiar with battlefield tactics and things of that nature and they're
viewed as overly aggressive but they have the best knowledge and experience in the field. who do you criticize? >> fair enough. i will point out a lot of time political generals are in place because -- out of respect to the desires of the troops. some of these controversial german generals, all of them have extraordinary dubious careers. and that used to be the joke. any of you get that? yes, exactly, right. so, a lot, they command german speaking. the german speaking communities are, actually politically quite important. a lot of them, if you do serious a history, you have to learn german, a place like saint louis, maybe. but, you know political, i mean it is partly because, out of respect to, i mean all their points are correct. let me just point that out. sometimes you have examples where --
this is kind of a conflict. i mean, i don't, that, that times negotiating the conflict. concern between one's troops, what the troops want, and overall mission accomplishment. there may be a conflict there. there may be a way to square it in the long view, big view. this may look more ambiguous. i have seen this in counterinsurgency settings. do you think all senior ncos are thrilled with restrictions, escalation of force and roe and stuff luke that. no they're not. i have seen -- these are platoon sergeants who do what they're told to do. but are like, they don't like these rules. and what does the officer have to do? enforce them. all right. i mean, a lot of times, the marker of a good unit, especially the nco, modern unit is when they do stuff that they don't want to doable.
they still do it. they will grumble a little bit. especially if it is a senior non-com, having private conversation with his company commander. what do they doened at the end the day? that's what's taught. especially in high quality organizations. but there is, you know, there is a conflict. you shouldn't. i don't want you to think, these things can get very messy on the ground. historically that's the case too. so here is a question. a lot of times historians phrase, i think the consensus was lee was pretty good also. although there is more of a debate. although perhaps that's just because lee lost. he is more open to criticicriti. grant is hard to criticize. you can say all the bad things about grant. what does he do at the end of the day? he wins! maybe he wins ugly. but he wins. so a lot of times the debate
cups docup cup -- comes down, did he win too ugly? can he win at a more efficient rate. who here thinks lee is superior to grant. who here would lake lee over grant? awe one a, t awe one, two, three, four, five, six, seven -- all right, ten. who takes grant. you have the right to abstain. the better general, whatever that means. your own criteria. >> bar fight. >> not in a bar fight. of course, never would involve in such activities. who would take grant over lee? one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. i think there is an eight. there is people. all right, eight or nine. all right, okay. that's interesting. i am a little surprised by that.
>> april 15, 1912, nearly 1,500 perish on the ship called unsinkable. >> once the lookout bells, lookout sighted iceberg ahead. they struck the bells three times, ding, ding, ding, which is a warning saying that there is some object ahead. it doesn't mean dead ahead it means ahead of the ship. it doesn't say what kind of object. with the lookout, struck the bell, he went to a telephone nest and called down to the officer on the bridge to tell them what it is that they saw. and -- when, the phone was finally answered, the, the entire conversation was what do you see? and the response was -- iceberg
right ahead. and the response from the, officer was, thank you. >> on the truths and myths of that night, sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. part of american history tv this weekend on cspan 3. next, a 1963 u.s. army film titled the general marshall story about george c. marshall who served as u.s. army chief of staff and later secretary of state and defense secretary. after world war ii, general marshall designed the european recovery program which became known as the marshall plan. in 1953 he received the nobel peace prize for his work to stabilize and rebuild europe.
>> the united states army presents, the big picture. an official report produced for the armed forces and the american people. >> it is rare in history when a man who has distinguished his name in war goes on to greatness in peace. but for marshall it was a short step to statesman, diplomat, peacemaker, winner of the nobel prize for peace. throughout his long career, general marshall served the most enduring ideals of a free people. his record has represented the best in the democratic tradition. walter cronkite is our guest
narrator as the u.s. army proudly turns back a page of its own history to salute citizen soldier, george marshall. >> the marshall family had settled in southwestern pennsylvania a few years before george catlet was born in 1880. a union town, he entered a slow-moving world that was more a part of the past than of the future. marshall's boyhood passed quietly and the only contact this serious child had with the army he would someday serve came secondhand through his father's recollections of the civil war. america's indian frontier had only recently been tamed and the stories of carson and custer were still fresh enough to excite the imagination of any boy. looking backward over the years, it's hard to find the precise reason why young george marshall decided to make the army his profession. but choose it he did and he began his soldiering at a soldier school.
the virginia military institute trained many distinguished army men before george marshall arrived in september 1897. they once boasted stonewall jackson as a member of its faculty. the m.i. provided the kind of environment calculated to encourage a young man with army ambitions. marshall and his four years in school rose to cadet first captain. he was an honored graduate with a reputation for military skill and knowledge which was to follow him throughout his army career. he was a young man with a passion for facts, and the ability to apply them imaginatively. ♪ commissioned an infantry second lieutenant in 1901, marshall shortly found himself on troop duty in the philippines. assignments in oklahoma territory, texas, massachusetts, and the ft. leavenworth staff college filled the early years. he studied and soldiered, and by
the time the united states began to mobilize for war in 1916, george marshall had become a captain in the regular army. he landed in france with the first american troops and, as a member of the first division, staff, he helped plan the battle of cantini. ♪ ♪ as chief of operations prior to the meuse-argonne offensive, marshall planned the successful movement of almost a million
troops, which made the great allied breakthrough possible. marshall had helped engineer the final victory. shown here with general henry allen, marshall had risen to full colonel and his enormous contributions to staff planning were being widely recognized. his work on the meuse-argonne offensive brought pershing's personal commendation. the man who designed the muese-argonne victory takes a moment to pose with other staff officers and friends. his reputation for brilliance distinguished him among his staff colleagues. marshall emerged from world war i as one of the most promising young officers in the army. assigned as aide to general pershing, marshall's work kept him in close contact with the aef commander during the last
days in europe. on a post-war battlefield tour, marshall calls one officer's attention to the cameraman. signal corps photographers covering pershing's activities, little realize that the lean, young colonel at his side would some day be as newsworthy a figure as the illustrious blackjack pershing. in the late summer of 1919, general pershing bid farewell to france and boarded for america. with him went general marshall. proud of the reputation he had acquired as a planning military brain, disappointed in the fact he'd been considered too valuable to spare for the combat command he coveted. pershing recommended marshall's promotion to brigadier, but the war's end prevented it. the two things most important to a professional soldier's career, command and promotion, had been denied marshall either through unfortunate timing or the talents he possessed were considered too precious to squander on the battlefield.
marshall's return was a time of triumph and frustration. he had learned the business of war in a tough school and knew it as few others did. but there was small pleasure in the knowledge. long after the noise and the shouting when this gay harbor scene had passed into memory and the world would once again take up arms, marshall would be ready. but as the leviathan docked in new york, he was still an obscure staff officer with a cinder in his eye. following pershing meant a constant round of official appearances. these were the years when american defense policies affecting the future security of the nation were being decided. the post-war role of the army was debated by both military and political leaders. pershing believed in a tight, hard, professional force backed
by a large citizen army. in marshall, he found an enthusiastic supporter. it was this kind of army which had brought victory out of europe in 1918. as a member of pershing's washington staff, marshall devoted much effort during the next four years toward a realization of the citizen army goal. 1924 brought duty with the 15th infantry regiment in tinseng, china. but the commanding officer of the 15th, colonel newell, marshall posed for a rare picture in mufti. this was his first actual troop assignment in almost ten years. the 15th infantry was operating well enough when marshall joined it as executive officer. but by the time he left, it had become a crack outfit. in the middle '20s, china was fragmented by civil war and revolution and the private
armies of chinese warlords fought in all parts of the land for national advantage. the mission of the 15th infantry was to help protect both american trading concessions and american lives. it was a tense, but quiet, assignment for marshall, and before he finished his tour, the 15th had acquired a reputation for smart appearance and snappy precision. it could outperform and outshine every other garrison regiment in tinseng. ♪ the distinguished faculty at the ft. benning infantry school, which included future generals bradley, stilwell and collins, was under marshall's direction from 1927 to 1931. when he took over the school, one of the most important in the
army, he found much of the instruction had fallen behind the times. but this hard-driving man with the passion for facts was not satisfied to refight old wars. it was the present and the future which concerned him, and he revised the curriculum accordingly. during the '30s, the world caught fire, ignited by a handful of global arsonists who enjoyed their work. germany threatened to even the score for her defeat in 1918. on the other side of the world, the japanese were introducing their neighbors to their own brand of arson. china felt the brutal aggression directed by the japanese warlords. the japanese onslaught of china carried out the ambitions and aspirations of a nation bent on territorial conquest.
for a while, many of us laughed at a comic opera character speaking from a roman balcony. but his intended victims in ethiopia did not laugh. they were a proud and fierce people determined to resist the italian dictator's aggression. benito mussolini invaded the tiny african kingdom anyway, and another piece of earth caught fire. an appeal was made, but no one came forward to answer it. mussolini demonstrated for his friends how easy it was. the day germany invaded poland, george marshall, then a brigadier general, made the extraordinary jump from one to four stars to become the army chief of staff. for secretary of war stimpson, the task of mobilization lay ahead. the resources of a mighty nation had to be tapped to produce the
props for the great drama about to unfold. marshall had waited in the wings for 20 years for the role he was about to play. the country's manpower resources, the great citizen army in which marshall believed so deeply, had to be activated, trained and equipped to fight if necessary. and with each passing month in 1940 and '41, it appeared increasingly probable that the united states would be drawn into the war. the army numbered less than 200,000 men when marshall took over as chief of staff. it would swell to more than 8 million before the axis defeat. the accumulated experience from the early days in the philippines, continuing in the meuse-argonne and tinseng, china, from ft. benning to the national guard and the ccc
during the depression, the sum total was imaginatively applied by george marshall to direct the american army during the war. it was as if every single year of his career related to the monumental task he undertook. the american military build-up was just beginning to gain momentum when the japanese attacked pearl harbor. at an inspection of the army's new airborne troops at ft. bragg in 1942, marshall gets a close-up view of the citizen soldier at work. field soldiers never knew when the chief of staff might make an appearance such as this one at the jungle warfare training center in hawaii. marshall might do his thinking and planning in washington, but it was from the field that he drew his facts. a gifted observer, the smallest detail did not escape him.
army subordinates were either proud or dismayed by marshall's critical appraisal, depending upon the performance. jungle training was a new experience for american troops, but it was clear from the beginning that in order to win the war in the pacific, our soldiers had to beat the japanese at their own game. in the forbidding gray of a november dawn in 1942, american naval vessels ghosted in toward the beaches of north africa, delivering the first major allied counterattack since the outbreak of the war. their objective, the german africa corps in tunisia. the enemy was led by germany's ingenious field marshal erwin rommel, the desert fox. his veterans had already been baptized by the battle-toughened british tommies. desperately, with everything they had, the germans fought to keep from being pushed into the sea.
when the allied military advisers convened at casablanca in january 1943, the north african campaign had become tough and bitter. but the achievement of a unified allied command was part of the ultimately victory. marshall had worked tirelessly to achieve a smooth-running command organization at the highest american level. he held the president's trust and regard and was consulted on every critical decision affecting the conduct of the war. marshall's diplomatic skill helped reconcile many opposing points of view with british leaders during the casablanca conference. from the north african meetings came the allied decision to bomb germany around the clock. american b-17s helped carry the war to the german backyard.